BMO's recent decision to lower its mortgage rates and potentially trigger yet another mortgage price war among Canadian banks. This has triggered a debate among analysts and commentators about the merits of debt -- one outlining this week why "it's a great time for Canadians to be in debt."
Bravely, the Greeks forge on. Its leaders may, indeed, as the Foreign Minister said, be exploring and defining areas of potential foreign investment and fast-tracking new rules to eliminate much of the red tape surrounding these endeavors.
The charitable parliamentary watchdog group Samara's latest report comes out this week and is almost as depressing. It analyzes close to six month's worth of parliamentary transcripts to find out if our 308 MPs have actually been discussing those matters like they're supposed to. Have they?
Why has Canada's federal debt jumped over 30 per cent since 2008, to over $600 billion? Why did the government miss its deficit target by $1.4 billion last year, and what is pushing this year's deficit forecast higher by more than $5 billion to $26 billion? Figures released by the PBO show that, contrary to all the talk we've been hearing about cutbacks, Ottawa's payroll is getting out of control.
On November 22 and 23, Canada's premiers are holding an economic summit in Halifax. Stephen Harper was invited, but he's not coming. Harper's quiet absence at the first ministers' meeting in Halifax speaks volumes about his commitment to universal health care. Harper is well aware that his refusal to negotiate a 2014 Health Accord and the downloading of almost $40 billion will encourage provinces to charge patients out-of-pocket and bring in more for-profit services. This is the most expensive and least efficient method of delivering health care -- if you need proof, just look to our southern neighbours.
Like the majority of people who live in Oshawa, Ontario, I oppose the building of an ethanol plant on our lakeshore. So does the city government. However, it is not simply NIMBYism which motivates my opposition. No one should have an ethanol plant in their community, particularly not on the lakeshore, and mere feet from the city's largest park and public swimming area.
With growing demands that governments must increase taxes on the rich, there's a strong possibility that some participants at the upcoming G20 finance ministers meeting in Washington will take aim at the banks with renewed calls for new taxes. Yet Canada already has a bank tax in place.
There is no rescuing Greece. If the country will not submit to regulations that people like Mark Carney would probably endorse, better that it not be propped up. Let it abandon the euro and revert to the drachma, until it comes to terms with itself.
Although the Harper government has no problem spending money, I believe that they will probably ramp up the cuts that have already started. We must make sure that we are not balancing the books on the backs of the poor. Make no mistake, poverty costs us all. It forces up our tax bills and depresses the economy.
All too often, the Conservatives designate a minister with little knowledge of a file to defend it against opposition attacks. Quite often this is done by one of their attack dogs. Other than the present administration, I don't recall that happening under previous Liberal or Conservative governments.
The recovery in the TSX since the first week of August, while choppy, has all the right ingredients going for it. A pattern of higher lows and highs and declining volatility will work to entice investors back into risk assets, and improving portfolios will bolster consumer sentiment.
The "summer of discontent" hasn't started yet, and yet the Opposition continues their pre-election day complaints that the Conservatives didn't announce how they were going to save $4 billion in operating costs. A hot summer will probably get much hotter and make for an interesting fall session when the House returns.
The clamor from non-European nations is now for the new IMF managing director to be drawn from an emerging market nation. That's fine, so long as the person is selected for their competence.
Jack Layton and Giles Duceppe can be credited for unleashing the political passion of Canadians but they should also pay the price at the polls for plunging Canada into a political crisis.